New research from Barnardo's highlights the challenges young carers face when trying to juggle their education with looking after a family member.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT, said: “Pupils learn best when there’s a strong bond between the home and the school. For schools to support young carers effectively they need to be aware of their circumstances, which are often extremely challenging. These families can be some of the most isolated from the wider school community, making it harder to pick up the warning signs in the playground or at parents evenings, for example.
“Many of these families may also be on low incomes, and NAHT has consistently argued that children from these families should be automatically registered for the Pupil Premium. This funding is specifically targeted at students who face challenges not unlike those faced by young carers. They should get this support automatically, particularly as the person they are caring for may not be able to apply for the money themselves. The additional funding would help schools to properly resource the ways in which they can identify and help young carers.
“Supporting young carers mental health is another concern, but funding has not kept pace with this demand. The government’s green paper on mental health this week includes some welcome proposals but NAHT has been pressing the government for some time to take a more rounded approach to mental health provision, particularly to take some of the emphasis away from schools and re-assert the importance of well-resourced and accessible local support services.
“All too often we hear that young people are already in crisis by the time help arrives. That cannot be right, so the new four-week waiting time for NHS children and young people’s mental health services is an extremely important step forward. As the Secretary of State has said, every young person should be able to grow up feeling confident about themselves and their future. We now need the government to deliver on this ambition.
“NAHT will continue to work closely with the government to make sure that schools are able to deliver their part of the mental-health jigsaw, so that families - no matter what their challenges - have a clear picture of how they can get help rather than facing the complex and often tragic puzzle of recent years.”
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